US The Wall Street Journal – June 27, 1983

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The Wall Street Journal

Front Page, 2nd Section

June 27, 1983

For $33.50, You can Have a Minute with This Commodities Adviser

by Joseph Perkins, Staff Reporter for The Wall Street Journal

People who think talk is cheap haven’t talked to Martin A. Armstrong.

Mr. Armstrong, a commodity trading adviser in Lawrenceville, N.J., charges clients $2,000 an hour for private consultations. Those who don’t need a full hour can talk to Mr. Armstrong for $33.50 a minute.

If that’s too steep, consider R.E. McMaster of Kahspell, Mont. He gives his views on commodities trading for just $100—as long as the conversation doesn’t last more than five minutes.

Neither man is well known within the commodities fraternity, but their fees certainly make them standouts among the 2,000 registered commodity trading advisers.

Plenty of Customers

“I can’t dream of people paying that kind of money,” says Morton Baratz, editor of Managed Accounts Report, a publication that tracks the performance of commodity trading advisers. It doesn’t follow Mr. Armstrong or Mr. McMaster.

Nevertheless, both say they’ve found plenty of people willing to pay their rates. Mr. Armstrong says he earns more than $100,000 a year giving phone advice to about 125 clients at $2,000 an hour; that’s the equivalent of just a little more than a 40-hour workweek.

Mr. McMaster says he earns $40,000 a year advising about 150 clients on the telephone. Both say they make additional income from newsletters and recorded-message services that dispense commodity advice.

Their trading strategies are rather cosmic. Mr. McMaster calls his approach holistic. He tells clients to plunge into the market “only when you are ready physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and intellectually.”

No “Rubber-Chicken Circuit”

For him, that mostly means staying home in Kahspell raising buffalo and llama. “I avoid the temptation to get out on the rubber-chicken circuit,” he says. Two months ago, though, he made an exception for a visit to Guatemala’s president, Jose Efrain Rios Montt, and his cabinet. He says he talked about, “Christian economics and government.”

Mr. Armstrong says his strategy, is based on enduring values, like fear and greed.

“Our cyclical analysis works because it is totally based upon human emotions,” he says. “That is what moves markets. Human emotions are there for every inflationary spiral and deflationary collapse.”